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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

How Gut Health Affects Mental Health


gut health mental healthIt’s Mental Illness Awareness Week, and it’s the perfect time to talk about the relationship between your gut and your mental health. Researchers are continuing to reveal the mental health benefits of a healthy gut population of beneficial bacteria. This is because healthy gut bacteria elevate blood levels of the amino acid tryptophan, which increases levels of the mood-boosting chemical serotonin. In people with a mental illness, like depression, serotonin levels are normally low.  

Anxiety and depression can cause changes in the gut microbiome, according to Mental Health America (MHA). This is why people struggling with mental illness often experience gastrointestinal woes like heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, pain, constipation and/or diarrhea. Sound familiar?

The best thing you can do to keep your gut healthy is to eat a balanced and nutritious daily diet. In addition, regular exercise, ample sleep and relaxation techniques should be part of your recovery plan to help keep your mind and body functioning at its best. 

Here are a few gut-friendly diet tips from MHA to consider:
  • Do your best to eat a diet full whole grains, lean meats, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Skip or limit sugary, fried, or processed foods and soft drinks.
  • Load up on prebiotic foods like asparagus, bananas (especially if they aren’t quite ripe), garlic, onions, jicama, tomatoes, apples, berries and mangos.
  • Add probiotic foods to your diet. This includes yogurt (live or active cultures), unpasteurized sauerkraut and kimchi, miso soup, kefir, kombucha (fermented black tea), tempeh (made of soy beans) and apple cider vinegar.

Relapse Prevention at Haus Recovery
A big part of staying on the sober path is paying attention to your emotional well-being and realizing when it needs a little extra TLC. Keeping relapse at bay is about cementing new healthy habits and remaining accountable to the recovery support system – and we’re here to help. To learn more about our recovery residences, call today: 888-551-4725.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sober Fall Fun in Santa Monica

Fall is finally here — and sunny Southern California is the perfect place to soak up the seasonal fun. From hiking to pumpkin picking, we’ve pulled together a few autumn-inspired activities to add to your sober fun list this fall.
  • Take in the scenery. Fall is perhaps the best season to go for a hike or visit a nearby park where you can simply enjoy the scenery. Bonus: When you experience beauty, like the vibrant colors of leaves, the part of your brain that contains your relaxation response center is activated, and you’ll feel more relaxed and in a better mood.
  • Set up camp. Cooler temperatures plus fewer mosquitos makes the perfect recipe for camping. Looking for a nature break without sleeping outdoors? There are tons of “glamping” (or glamorous camping) spots nearby Santa Monica.
  • Savor seasonal eats. You can certainly take a day to go apple picking or pumpkin picking in one of the many spots around Los Angeles — or just head to your local farmer’s market for seasonal produce. Superfoods like pumpkin, apples, sweet potatoes, squash and figs will help to keep you healthy and nourished this season. And don’t forget about seasonal spices: The scent of cinnamon, for instance, has been study-proven to sharpen your mind.
  • Play like a kid. Whether you arrange a few friends and head to a pumpkin patch for a corn maze race or play flag football or soccer in the park, fall is a prime time to head outdoors. The brisk, fresh air will feel great on your skin and in your lungs and the benefits will extend to your mental state, too.
More Sober Living Activities
At Haus Recovery, we whole-heartedly believe that sustained recovery should incorporate daily fun. To this end, we offer bikes, surfboards and paddleboards for residents and organize group activities and outings every week. To learn more, call today: 888-551-4715.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Healthy Ways to Have Fun in Recovery

Now that you’re sober, you have a lot of sober fun in your future. In fact, finding healthy ways to enjoy life is key to lasting sobriety. 

Life in recovery is more than just meeting goals, learning and practicing coping skills and restructuring your life. It’s about finding joy, hope and love in life. What are you waiting for? Write down a few sober activities that you might enjoy and prioritize your list. 

Here are a few ways to ensure fun in recovery. 
  • Meet other people. While getting out and meeting new people can seem intimidating, it’s an important part of branching out and having fun during recovery. Sign up for a reading or running group, talk to someone new at your next support group or make a point to introduce yourself to the neighbor you always see at the park. Socializing with others will help you continue to get to know the new sober you and meet like-minded people. 
  • Try a hobby. Hobbies can help you meet new friends with shared interests and fill your newfound time with something you’re passionate about. But what kind of hobby is right for you? Try a few until you find one that fits. There are so many potential choices - from stamp collecting to cabinetry to cooking to joining a running club. Just keep in mind that with most hobbies comes a learning curve, so don’t get discouraged if it takes some time to get the hang of it. 
  • Consider travel. Getting away and discovering new places is a great stress reliever and it’s also a great way to meet new people and experience something different from everyday life. If you can’t afford a big trip, try taking a tour of a nearby city. You’ll be amazed at how much there is to learn right in your own backyard.
  • Laugh always and often. Learning how to laugh at life and yourself is perhaps the best way to enjoy your life in recovery – and it’s free. The road to sobriety is tough and some days will feel never-ending. Take an opportunity to find the funny in even the most mundane recovery tasks. 

Finding Fun at Haus Recovery
We believe sobriety is the beginning of a fun, fulfilling and lifelong adventure. To learn about our program and how we can help you feel good about life and sobriety, call today: 888-551-4715.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Summertime SAD: What You Need to Know

summertime SADWhen most of us think of seasonal depression, we think of the winter blues or feelings of depression brought on by the darker, colder winter months. More and more experts, however, are noticing seasonal depression in the summer months. There’s even a clinical name for it – Summer-Onset Seasonal Affective Disorder or SO SAD. 

“It is a thing. It is not as common as winter SAD,” Kathryn Roecklein, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, told TODAY. "We don’t have a lot of research on summer SAD."

So what causes SO SAD? Roecklein said that it’s likely related to how sun and UV light influence mood. “Heat, sun and UV exposure limit people’s ability to engage in pleasant activities,” she said. “It reduces your positive mood and increases depression.” 

The heat can also worsen symptoms of clinical depression, bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses. What's more, interrupted routines, less available support systems, financial stress and body image issues can also contribute to summertime SAD, say experts. 

Luckily, some of the same healthy habits that will help your recovery can help improve symptoms of SO SAD, including regular exercise, proper nutrition, stress management and surrounding yourself with positive people who will have a positive impact on your mood. 

Recognizing SO SAD
The symptoms of summertime SAD are similar to winter SAD and include feeling depressed, hopeless, losing interest in fun activities and struggling to concentrate. Other symptoms include: 
  • Feelings of anxiety, agitation or hopelessness
  • Loss of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Lack of interest or participation in things you usually enjoy
  • Withdrawal or isolation 
  • Consistent feelings of sadness
Relapse Prevention at Haus Recovery
If you’re feeling depressed this summer, it’s smart to seek help and regularly attend 12-step meetings. At Haus, we’ll ensure you stay part of a strong recovery community and learn habits to help safeguard your mental health and sobriety. To learn more about our relapse prevention program, call today: 888-551-4725.




Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Healthy Versus Unhealthy Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is an important part of lasting sobriety. Boundaries allow you to nurture your wellbeing, establish your identity and protect your mental and physical health. There are different levels and types of boundaries, including physical, emotional and mental boundaries. In general, healthy boundaries determine what we will, and will not, accept in order to stay strong, safe and happy. They are a way to preserve your self-care and self-respect. 

A big part of building healthy boundaries is finding a healthy balance. Here are some examples:

Unhealthy: Giving a lot and receiving nothing back.
Healthy: Being in a relationship where the other person reciprocates.

Unhealthy: Trusting no one or trusting anyone.
Healthy: Striking a balance of trust and skepticism.

Unhealthy: Telling everything to everybody or anybody.
Healthy: Sharing a little at a time while checking to see how the other person responds.

Unhealthy: Falling in love with anyone and without much thought.
Healthy: Taking time to decide whether a potential relationship is right for you and your recovery.

Unhealthy: Going against your personal values or morals to please others.
Healthy: Maintaining self-respect and personal values despite what others want.

Unhealthy: Allowing others to direct your life – without questioning.
Healthy: Trusting your decisions and communicating your needs.

Unhealthy: Self-abuse – sexual, food, physical or substance abuse.
Healthy: Treating yourself with kindness, humor and love and respecting your body and its needs. 

Let Our Mentors Guide You
Even with the recovery skills you’ve gained, you may need help when it comes to setting healthy boundaries for your new sober life. One of the advantages of sober living at HAUS is having fellow residents and a wonderful support team to help you stay clean and respect yourself while you transition from treatment to “normal life.” To learn more about our mentoring services, call today: 888-551-4715.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Mental Health Advice for Dealing With the News

tragic newsWhether you turn on the news or scroll through social media, it often seems like you can’t escape the many horrible things going on in the world. Violence and trauma in the news is tough on everyone – and it’s often more difficult to handle if you’re also struggling with a mental illness like PTSD, anxiety or depression. There’s a higher risk factor for anxiety [and related issues] for someone with a traumatic experience in their background,” Stephanie Dowd, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center of the Child Mind Institute, told Teen Vogue

Unfortunately, you can’t just shut it all out – nor should you because it’s important to stay current. So how can you deal with the extra stress and anxiety that the news can bring? Here are a few tips to safeguard your mental health if you find yourself particularly sensitive to the news.
  • Expect and accept your reactions. If you react strongly to the news,
    don’t beat yourself up. Practice some self-compassion by taking a deep breath and reminding yourself that it’s okay to experience these emotions. 
  • Limit visual news sources. It’s one thing reading about a tragedy and another looking at visual images of a tragedy. If you’re sensitive to the news, then it’s best to keep up on current events via written form.  
  • Relax your senses. Listen to relaxing music, meditate or soak in a bubble bath – do your best to engage your senses in a soothing way. 
  • Seek support. When your emotions are fragile, it’s always best to reach out to your supports. Call a family member or friend or anyone with whom you feel close and comfortable. 
  • Focus on the helpers. This Mr. Roger’s quote went viral after the Newtown tragedy in 2012: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers; you will always find people who are helping.” Focusing on the helpers can help restore your faith in humanity and provide some hope amid the disturbing headlines. And it may even inspire you to give back in some way. 
Rewards of Volunteering
At HAUS Recovery, we believe your recovery is strengthened when you serve others. Studies show that volunteers are less likely to feel isolated or depressed. Volunteering also helps you develop a more accurate view of your life and reminds you of the importance of the shared human experience. To learn more about our volunteer placement service, call today: 888-551-4715.








Monday, July 2, 2018

Surviving July 4th Sober

sober july 4th
Dreading the upcoming holiday? No matter where you are in your sobriety, the Fourth of July can be tough and reminiscent of partying and drinking. To help you have a fun, safe and sober holiday, we’ve put together some tips to help you enjoy your Independence Day and your freedom from addiction. 

Stick with your sober friends. Whether you choose to hang out with one close sober friend or a larger group from your recovery community, make this holiday about being social and sober. Start the day with a group hike or arrange a movie or bowling outing or head to your local parade. If you get stuck on ideas, just pretend that you're kid again. Run around in the heat, have a water balloon toss or roast some marshmallows before heading to the fireworks.

Get active. Physical activity is a surefire way to boost your mood and it will also help balance out all of those extra calories from hot dogs and burgers. Gather up some sober friends and family and test out these fun ways to stay fit this July 4th
  • Three-legged race
  • Sack race
  • Freeze tag
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Tug of war
  • Frisbee
  • Soccer
Host a BYONB party. BYONB stands for “bring your own non-alcoholic beverages” and it’s an easy way to stay social and enjoy your holiday without any temptations.

Do something for someone else. Especially if you’re not in the mood to celebrate, the 4th of July can be the perfect time to give back to others. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or simply help another friend in recovery.

Don’t suffer in silence. You deserve to have a fun 4th of July and sober celebration with family and friends, so reach out if you’re having a bad day, feeling insecure or are tempted to drink or do drugs.

A Fun Sober Life at HAUS Recovery
Sobriety is the beginning of a fun, fulfilling and lifelong adventure. Our schedule of activities is designed to strategically fill your time, nourish your body and enrich your spirit. To learn more how we can help you transition from rehab to everyday life without losing your way, call us today: 888-551-4715.